prathama li-la-ya ta-n’ra ‘vis’vambhara’ na-ma
bhakti-rase bharila, dharila bhu-ta-gra-ma
In His early pastimes He is known as Vis’vambhara because He floods the world with the nectar of devotion and thus saves the living beings.
ḍubhṛñ dhātura artha — poṣaṇa, dhāraṇa
puṣila, dharila prema diyā tri-bhuvana
The verbal root “ḍubhṛñ” [which is the root of the word “viśvambhara”] indicates nourishing and maintaining. He, Lord Caitanya,nourishes and maintains the three worlds by distributing love of God.
śeṣa-līlāya dhare nāma ‘śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya’
śrī-kṛṣṇa jānāye saba viśva kaila dhanya
In His later pastimes He is known as Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya. He blesses the whole world by teaching about the name and fame of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
Purport by Srila Prabhupada
Lord Caitanya remained a householder only until His twenty-fourth year had passed. Then He entered the renounced order and remained manifest in this material world until His forty-eighth year. Therefore śeṣa-līlā, or the final portion of His activities, lasted twenty-four years.
Some so-called Vaiṣṇavas say that the renounced order of life is not accepted in the Vaiṣṇava sampradāya, or disciplic succession, until Lord Caitanya. This is not a very intelligent proposition. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu took the sannyāsa order from Śrīpāda Keśava Bhāratī, who belonged to the Śańkara sect, which approves of only ten names for sannyāsīs. Long before the advent of Śrīpāda Śańkarācārya, however, the sannyāsa order existed in the Vaiṣṇava line of Viṣṇu Svāmī. In the Viṣṇu Svāmī Vaiṣṇava sampradāya, there are ten different kinds of sannyāsa names and 108 different names for sannyāsīs who accept the tri-daṇḍa, the triple staff of sannyāsa. This is approved by the Vedic rules. Therefore Vaiṣṇava sannyāsa was in existence even before the appearance of Śańkarācārya, although those who know nothing about Vaiṣṇava sannyāsa unnecessarily declare that there is no sannyāsa in the Vaiṣṇava sampradāya.
During the time of Lord Caitanya, the influence of Śańkarācārya in society was very strong. People thought that one could accept sannyāsa only in the disciplic succession of Śańkarācārya. Lord Caitanya could have performed His missionary activities as a householder, but He found householder life an obstruction to His mission. Therefore He decided to accept the renounced order, sannyāsa. Since His acceptance of sannyāsa was also designed to attract public attention, Lord Caitanya, not wishing to disturb the social convention, took the renounced order of life from a sannyāsī in the disciplic succession of Śańkarācārya, although sannyāsa was also sanctioned in the Vaiṣṇava sampradāya.
Prabhupad is explaining here that some people who do not have a great understanding they declare that amongst Vaiṣṇava sampradāyas sannyāsa is not recommended. There is often the quote from shastra that in the age of Kali yuga there are several things that are forbidden. One is the performance of the aśvamedha-yajñas, performance of the Gomedha yajñas, begetting children in ones brother’s wife and the acceptance of sannyāsa. But according to the great achyaryas, this is to be understood that the type of sannyāsa that is being spoken of is not what the acharyas are giving in regard to the renounced order of life. After all Vishnu Swami, Sripad Śańkarācārya, Madhavacharya, Ramanujaacharya, sannyāsa is very prominent in all of these great sampradayas. In fact Śańkarācārya was so strict that he would not even accept you as serious student until after you had taken sannyāsa. First take sannyāsa then you can understand Vedanta from me. And here Srila Prabhupad is explaining that Vishnu swami, he was sannyāsi himself, was giving the tridanda sannyāsa even before Shankaracharya’s time.
How did Mādhavācārya take Sannyas
We find in the life of Mādhavācārya who is founder of our sampradaya. When he was only twelve years old he took sannyāsa although his parents his mother and father how much they weeped how much they cried. It is not that they had all blessings from their family members. Mādhavācārya -how did he take sannyāsa? When he was eight years old, he accepted initiation from his gurudeva, Acyuta Prekṣa. He decided,”I want to take sannyāsa, I do not want to be with my family anymore because it is a hindrance to the mission of becoming Krishna conscious and spreading the message of Krishna consciousness.” And his father was so much attached to him, his mother was so much attached to him. He was the only child. He was the only son. “Who will maintain us, who will protect us when we are old “,they were thinking. What to speak of just the natural love and affection for him. When his parents came to the ashram of Acyuta Prekṣa and found out that he was planning to take renounce order of sannyāsa they demanded that he come home. He would not come home. They begged, they pleaded, they ordered. He would not come home. So his father went to the wife to explain the situation. She said that we must get him back somehow or other. So again he went and by that time Mādhavācārya was already traveling with his gurudev. The father went through the jungles, through the forests, through the villages, through the agricultural fields trying to find him and finally in a jungle setting he found his little son, his little boy with his gurudev. He begged, he pleaded, he commanded, every possible trick- he cried, he weeped. “We will commit suicide “, the father said. Finally he fell at the feet. Mādhavācārya was very firm. He said”I am not coming, I am going to dedicate my life in this way”. The father said that but you are only our son you must come home. This is against all principles.
Sarva dharma parityaja mam ekam saranam vraja
aham tvam sarva papebhyo moksayisami ma sucah
Mādhavācārya understood that if you surrender to Krishna utterly all other principles are irrelevant .All social obligations and all other principles of morality are to be abandoned by one who is completely surrendering their life to the mission of Sri Krishna. So Madhavacharya was so staunch that finally his father said if you do like this your mother and I both will commit suicide. Mādhavācārya looked at them and said then commit suicide. Go ahead do it. And then finally his father fell at his son’s feet. Mādhavācārya said that you know an older person will never fall at younger person’s feet unless the younger person is a sannyasi. So by your falling at my feet you are confirming my desire that I should take sannyāsa. The father was appealing in a very humble tone at that point and he said we have no other child. Please at least wait until we have another child, another son to take care of us. So Mādhavācārya soften his heart. He said that all right when you have another son then I will take sannyas but I will not come home in the meanwhile I will stay with my gurudev as Bhramachari. So the next year a child was born and then he came. He came only for that otherwise he was staying with his gurudev in the ahram. He said that now you give me your blessings to take sannyāsa because a child is born. They said,” no no not possible.” They changed their mind of course. He said that ok I will make you a deal don’t give me your blessings, I will be bramhachari but you will never see me again for rest of your life. Give your blessings, I will take sannyāsa but I will communicate with you every now and then. Those are your two alternatives. So under those circumstances they knew he was very serious, they gave their blessings and then he accepted sannyāsa at twelve years old. And all of his principal followers were sannyasis. Before he left this world he established eight sannyasis and each of them established eight mutths and to this day those eight sanyasis,not by birth but by their disciplic succession of initiation or diksha the sannyasis of those eight and there was another four so now there are twelve mutths that lead the entire Madhva Sampradaya. So who can say that sannayas is not recommended in Vaishnava order?
How did Ramanuja take Sannyas
And then there is a life of Ramanuja, another of the great vaishnava acharyas. Ramanuja was a married man. One very great sadhu, who he considered shiksha guru was coming to where Ramanuja was living. They were in Kanchipuram area .One day Ramanuja went out and this very great sadhu came to the house begging and Ramanuja’s wife insulted him and told him “ go away, worthless sadhu ,beggar what we need you for?go away”. When that person, in his dejected state, was going away he met Ramanuja on the way. He heard what happened. Ramanujam told this sadhu that I will tell you what to do.”Take this note to my wife that you are a messenger that there is problem in her father and mother’s family and that they need her to come home, to her native village immediately. And because you are the messenger from her family, she would very nice to you”. So he went to the house of Ramanujam and gave this message and she said,” Oh! I must go immediately”. Then when Ramanuja came home, she said that I have received this message and so he said that you better go immediately. It is very important. Your parents are calling for you. So when she went home and Ramanujam was thinking “ she is not favorable to Krishna Consciousness ,she is not helping me, she is not properly respecting the sadhus or my gurus therefore it is not favorable condition”. So while she was away at her parent’s house, Ramanuja took sannyāsa. Never to see her again. He is another of the great acharyas in the four sampradayas. His principal followers also were very very great scholars sanyasis. Also Ramanujam had many very very great powerful grihasta disciples.
How did Lord Gaurangan take Sannyas
Then of course the Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna descended as lord Gauranga Mahaprabhu. Although he was only 24 years old, his wife was only 16, his mother was old and a widow. She had no children. Śacīdevī had two sons. One had already taken sannyāsa and left her heart broken. She had eight daughters before that. They all died just after birth. So all she had left was Lord Gauranga, this was all she had in life. An old helpless woman, and a young teenage wife who was helpless to take care of herself and He was only 24. 24-years-old is the peak of the time when people really want to start enjoying life.But when He saw that His household life was unfavorable for His mission, even though He had such love for His mother and His wife. As far as they were concerned, there was nothing unfavorable. They were completely supportive. Whatever He wanted to do they would support and completely dedicate their life and soul to anything He desired. But the society was not properly respecting Him because of His ashram. He understood that people will offer obeisances to me, people will hear me better. How did he get this realization? One day Lord Gauranga Mahaprabhu was sitting under a tree and in great ecstasy he started chanting “Gopi Gopi Gopi” the names of Gopis and one brahman student very proud,very arrogant like most of the people of Navadweep at the time specially Brahmanas. He came and said what are you doing chanting name of Gopis this is not prescribed in the Shastras you are supposed to be chanting the name of God but He was in ecstatic trans. He was in the mood of Sri Krishna, Sri Radharani and their love. So He picked up the stick and chased that student away. That student became so insulted that who is this person. “ I am high class high born Bramhan and he is chasing with the stick.” So he went to all the other bramhans students and they became outraged that how can anyone can take a stick upon one of them. “Everyone should respect us, honor us, adore us and he is chasing us with stick.” So there was much criticism. So Lord Gauranga began to think at that time that as long as I am in household ashram these puffed up mayavadis, “these arrogant brahmans they will not listen to me but if I am a sannyasi everyone will offer respect to me and everyone will hear this message.” So therefore he left in the middle of the night. A night before,He told Lord Nityananda, Chandrashekhar Acharya,Mukunda, Gadadhar and few others that “we will go to Katwa and I will accept sannyāsa”. That night Vishupriya was massaging His feet with great chastity and devotion and she fell asleep. As He was leaving the house Śacīmata was getting dreams that my son might leave tonight, an unbearable thought so she was standing at the door and Lord Chaitanya came to her and touched her feet and said that mother I am going to take sannyāsa. She stood petrified like wood. She could not move, she could not speak and then He left.
So why did He choose Keshav Bharati? As it is explained here, Chaitanya Manaprabhu specifically took initiation in Madhava sampradaya. Out of the four sampradayas He specially chose Madhva sampradaya because He knew this mayawada philosophy was so prominent in society among transcendentalist that in order to establish pure Bhakti one must very much refute this mayavad philosophy. He accepted more that more than any other acharya Madhava has done this. Bhaktivinod Thakur explains that Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accepted two essential principles from all four Sampradayas. He really did not favored one over the other. In fact Sri Gaurang Mahaprabhu synthesized in such an intimate and beautiful way all the four vaishnava sampradayas. From the Madhva sampradaya he took tremendous refutation of mayavad or impersonal philosophy which declares the living entity and the Parmatam are one and the same. He established we are eternally simultaneously one and different. acintya bheda–abheda-tattva. And also from Madhvacharya he took the worship of the deity of Krishna. And those of you who have gone to Udupi, you find Madhvacharya’s worshipable deity as child Krishna, Vrindavan Krishna. From the Ramanuja sampradaya, He took the path of raga, raga marga, which means the path of spontaneous love and service to the Vaishnavas. Ramanujachrya very much stressed service to the Vaisnvas.
Question: Path of raga what does that mean?
Maharaj: Raga marga means spontaneous love.
From the Vishnuswami sampradaya or the Rudra sampradaya, he took complete dependence on only Krishna Sri Krishna Sharnam mam.
From Nimbarka sampradaya, he took two principles- the paramount importance of Sri Radharani and worship of Her lotus feet and the high esteem for the gopis love for Krishna.
So Lord Gauranga Mahaprabhu accepted initiation from Ishwara puri who is a disciple of Madhvendra Puri,very much because this sampradaya was teaching this refutation of this mayavad philosophy which was very important. So why is it after that making that decision for His first initiation that he accepts sannyāsa in the mayavad sampradaya. It is a mystery. Prabhupad is here giving light. The reason is the whole purpose or the whole reason He took sannyāsa is to get people to respect and hear what He had to say for their own purification and salvation and because the people of the age were so much thinking in terms that sannyasis means Shankar sanyasis that the vaishnav sanyasis were not getting proper respect. Shakaracharyas teachings and his sannyasis were very very powerful at that time therefore He accepted sannyāsa from Keshav Bharati so that He would get the respect and the obeisance by which people will benefit. And Keshav Bharati maharaj was also a disciple of Madhvendra puri and Keshav Bharati maharaj also accepted Shankara’s line of sannyāsa for the same purpose. To reach people’s heart with the message of Bhakti. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s own guru Ishvara Puri also a disciple in a vaisnava sampradaya, disciple of Madhavendra puri, also took Sannyāsa from the mayavad school.Therefore what Sri Chaitany Mahaprabhu did was very much in line with His previous acharyas. Then what was the purpose? The whole purpose of His taking the sannyāsa was to some how or other reach people and change their hearts, change their lives even though it was very unorthodox as far as tradition goes. In another words, Gauranga Mahaprabhu, Ishvar Puri, Keshav Bharati -their spirit, their teaching, their love everything was aligned with the path of Bhakti. Internally their sannyāsa was for only for the purpose of dedicating their mind, body and words and soul to the service of Krishna. The internal purpose of sannyāsa was simply according to the principles of Bhakti in the purest and highest stage, but externally they took forms by which they could reach people better. They did this because this was the climate in India at that time. How to reach people? Kal desh Patra. A good preacher has to evaluate the time, place and the people and preach accordingly. Otherwise what is use of preaching all nice philosophy if nobody listens, if nobody’s heart changes, if nobody’s life change?
In the Shankar sampradaya there are ten different names awarded to sanyasis. Of course after hearing all this and when Sri Chaitany Mahaprabhu after he took Sannyāsa, what did he do? He traveled so many places, in relationship to Raghunath Das Goswami. He told Raghunath Das, when Raghunath escaped from his parents, he was also the only son. His parents were great great devotees. They were so wealthy. They were practically sponsoring the missionary activities of all Gaudiya Vaishnavas. Raghunath didn’t want to be like that. He didn’t want to be big big beneficiary of the devotees. He wanted to be a sanyasi .He came to Jaganath puri and fell at the feet of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu after escaping and Lord Gauranga said,” oh, Raghunath you are very fortunate. Household life is like deep pit where people go to pass stool and those attached householders are like worms in that stool and you are so kind because only Krishna can free you from that situation”. He accepted him and Raghunath became a Goswami. Rupa and Sanatan were high posted ministers under the king and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu when He met them then He said leave this place, take sannyāsa and go to Vrindavan. He gave them sannyāsa and sent them to Vrindavan. He may not have given them sannyāsa with the fire sacrifice and all the external but He gave them sannyāsa by His order, by His spirit. He told Raghunath Bhatt Goswami that your parents are very very great pure devotees. You should go back and take care of them but do not marry. As soon as they leave their bodies come back here and become a Goswami. And also there is this Kurma Brahman in South India. He was a householder. He wanted to leave and take sannyāsa. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “no, go back home. You take care of your family always chant Hare Krishna and preach in that ashram”. Ramananda Ray was also grihastha. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to stay just in that position. So you see Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was not for or against grihastha life. He was not for or against sannyāsa life. He was for only one thing, whatever is best for preaching Krishna consciousness and he was against anything that was obstruction to that. Therefore most of His disciples were grihasthas and He encouraged them to go on like that, but He encouraged some special few by saying that you should take sannyāsa. You should dedicate your life only for this purpose.
So therefore we must understand according to our founder of this whole institution. We are not talking about material institution. We are talking about spiritual movement, Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the founder of this great spiritual movement. He has got himself. dharmam tu sakshad bhagavat-pranitam. Real religion can only be propounded by one person and that is God. And all we can do is be His representative. This is the best only thing and if we are not representing God, what He has taught, what he has given through Guru, Sadhu, Sastra then we are simply cheating people, misleading people. So Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu established this principle that I am not a Brahman, Kshatriya, vaishya, Shudra. I am not a sannyasi, grihstha, vanaprastha or bramhachari. I am only aspiring to be the servant of the servant of the servant of Gopi bhartur, of Lord of the Gopis. So in this way we are not against or for any ashram. We are only for Krishna consciousness and there is need for first class sannyasis. Anyone who says that Vaishnavas or in Vaishnava line people should not take sannayas, is crazy. How can they speak against the example and teachings of Gauranga Mahaprabhu, Ramanujacahrya, Madhvacharya, Vishuswami, even Shankracharya although he was mayavadi disguised internally. Vaishnav yatha Shambhu he is actually the greatest vaishnava Shiva. We should not favor one ashram and unfavor another ashram. We should understand that there is need for first class sannyasis who are dedicating their mind, bodies, words only to the service of Krishna. There is dire need for first class bramhacharis who are setting higher standards of just giving as the humble servants of the sannyasis. There is a dire need of first class grihasthas, people who are living in this world but not of this world as well as vanaprashtas, those grihasthas who are gradually dedicating their lives to more and more renounced spirit. So in this way there should not be sectarianism amongst the ashrams. If there is then that means neophyte understanding will better than you. Nobody is better than anyone. In the vaishnava sampradaya who considers himself the least is the best and he who considers himself the best is the least. So in this way Srila Prabhupada was very very strongly making this point of the importance and the sanctity of all these four ashrams and why Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu personally accepted the renounced order of life? In the Shankar sampraday there are ten different names awarded to sannyasis. Tirtha, asram, van, arany, giri, parvat sagar, saraswati, bharati and puri. Before one enters sannyāsa he has one of the various names for a bramhachari, the assistant to a sannyasi. Sannyasi with the title tirth and asram generally stay at Dwarka, their bramhachari name is Swarup. Those known by the name of vana and aranya stay in Jagannath puri and their bramhachari name is Prakash. Those with the names Giri, Parvat and Sagara generraly stays at Badrika ashram and their bramhachari name is ananda. Those with the title Saraswati, Bharati and Puri usually live in Shringeri in south India and the bramhchari name is chaitanya. Sripad Shankaracharya established four monasteries in India in the four directions, north,south,east and west. And he entrusted them to four sannyasis who were his disciples. Now there are hundreds of branch monasteries under these four principal monasteries and although there is officially symmetry among them there are many differences in their dealings. The four different sects of their monasteries are known as anadvar, bhogavara,kitvara and bhumivara. And in course of time they have developed different ideas and different slogans. According to regulation of the disciplic succession, one who wishes to enter into the renounce order in Shankara sect must be first trained as brahmachari under a bonafied sannyasi. The brahmachari’s name is ascertained according to the group to which the sannyasi belongs. Lord Chaitanya accepted Sannyāsa from Keshava bharati. When He first approached Keshava bharati, He was accepted as a brahmachari with the name Sri Krishna Chaitanya brahmachari. After he took the sannyāsa, he preferred to keep the name Krishna Chaitanya. The great authority in the disciplic succession had not offered to explain why Lord Chaitanya refused to take the name bharati after he took Sannyāsa from a bharati until Bhaktisidhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaj volunteer the explanation that because the sannyasi in Shankara Sampradaya thinks that he has become the supreme, Lord Chaitanya wanting to avoid such a misconception kept the name Sri Chaitanya placing Himself as an eternal servitor. A brahmachari is supposed to serve the spiritual master, therefore He did not negate that relationship of servitude to His spiritual master. Accepting such a position is favorable for the relationship between the disciple and the spiritual master. The authentic biographies also mention that Lord Chaitanya accepted the danda and the begging pot symbolic of the sannyāsa order of time when he took sannyāsa. So here Srila Prabhupad is describing that traditionally when one serves a sannyasi, one takes a particular brahmachari name, but after taking sannyāsa one inherits the name of that particular sannyāsa line. Because |He took sannyāsa from Keshava Bharati Maharaj, he should have been named Bharati Maharaj. But Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was thinking that now I have received the dignity of the sannyāsa, the external dignity in the eyes of people taking sannyāsa in this order but he wanted to give another lesson to people which is very important. Bhaktisiddhanta saraswati is explaining because according to the Shankaras when you take sannyāsa you become Narayan. They even address themselves as Namo Narayan. Now sometimes Ramanuja bhakta also says Namo Narayan. When Ramanujam says Namo Narayan that means I offer my obeisances to the Narayan who is paramatma in your heart. But the shankaras idea, when they say among sannyasis Namo Narayan, that means because you are sannyāsa you are Narayan. One who takes sannyāsa in their order becomes God. By that act of renunciation from everything in material world he becomes God. But Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu did not want people to think because He took sannyāsa He was God. He came to establish eternal servitude to the God. Brahmachari name means servitude and Sannyāsa name means becoming God in the Shankara line. So He kept his bramhachari name to show people although I am a sannyasi, my mind is that I am eternally the servant. I don’t want anyone to think for even a second that I think I can ever become God.
So any questions?
Devotee: Sometimes there are some vaishnava sanyasis names like which are also names of Krishna like Radhanath Swami. What does that indicate, a servant of Krishna?
Maharaj: See all of our names are various names of Krishna. He did this because He was specifically in this line. He wanted to establish. Because we are not in this line we don’t have to worry about this misconception. Because we are taking sannyāsa directly and purely in the vaishnava sampradaya, there is no question of misconception for us. But because He was taking sannyāsa in an impersonal sampradaya He wanted to make sure that distinction was there. That is the difference. In the vaishnava samradaya it is understood whatever your name is you are accepting the position of eternal servitude.
Devotee: you told about Ramanujahcarya taking sannyāsa but it is said that if you have a wife you have to take her consent before taking sannyāsa.
Maharaj: Who says that?
Maharaj: what does it say?Where? There are different shlokas for different folks.
Sarva dharma parityaja mam ekam saranam vraja
aham tvam sarva papebhyo moksayisami ma sucah
Krishna says abandon all these other shlokas and just surrender to me.You cannot understand the scriptures except from acharyas, their example and their teachings. If you try approach scriptures on your own and you will be bewildered because you will find so many conflicting statements. Did Lord Chaitanya get consent from Vishupriya. She didn’t even know until after He was done. And He was playing a part of devotee to show an example to show us. He was not in a role of God. Then Ramanujacharya’s wife didn’t even know until after he was done.
Devotee: Srila Prabhupad?
Maharaj: Did Srila Prabhupad get the consent of his wife?
Devotee: In one lecture he was saying that now my children are married
Maharaj: Yes there may be but he never got consent. His children were grown up, his wife was alright but they still demanded that he take care of them. In fact one year or some years ago I went to the Mayapur Chandrodaya Mandir in Navdveep Dham and while I was there I was introduced to one of the Srila Prabhupad’s sons. And you know that temple is the most magnificent temple practically all over India- the gardens, the fountains everything is so beautiful full of life. I was telling him that this is what your father has done. You must be so proud of him. Not only he has done this but he has opened hundreds of centers throughout the world and changed millions of people’s lives and he printed and distributed more Bhagavat Gitas than anyone in the history of the world. And you know what he said to me? He said to me but he never should have left my mother. You know what he did to my mother when he left. He was like, that it was more important. So in most cases that is true just like when one of Srila Prabhupad’s disciples wanted to take sannyāsa and he said that unless you have the blessings and heartfelt permission from your wife you cannot do. Prabhupad was generally be like that amongst his disciples.